Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Religious disorders

Our Archdiocesan weekly reviewed Accomplishments, memories in La Crosse of Bishop Listecki. Among the accomplishments,
Sr. M. Stephania Newell, a Sister of St. Francis of the Martyr of St. George and director of the office of consecrated life in the La Crosse Diocese, said Archbishop Listecki influenced the men and women religious and consecrated people in the diocese.

“In general, the religious men and women and consecrated persons in our diocese have, I think, a greater respect for him as a bishop that they haven’t always had, as they haven’t always had a respect for the hierarchy of the church,” Sr. M. Stephania said.
If this is a widespread problem, sounds like something for the Vatican to investigate. For one thing, I sure haven't noticed religious orders' solicitations for money mentioning members' disrespect for the hierachy.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Prejudgment day

Some Milwaukee priests left comments when they signed the petition for "grassroots review" before implementation of the revised Roman Missal. The petition was the product of Rev. Michael J. Ryan of Seattle as a follow-up to his recent article in America, see What If We['d] Said, 'Wait'?

Fr. Ryan there said that "'What If We Just Said No?' was my working title for this article." That leaves the impression that the proposed market testing is acually a tactic to delay and then thwart changes about which he and others have already made up their mind.

That seems to be the case for Rev. Charles G. Zabler (Our Lady of Good Hope) who commented,
We need to test drive this change in language. It will not fly. ...
If I was sure my flying car wouldn't fly, I wouldn't be advocating a test drive.

Rev. David E. Cooper (St. Matthias) commented,
We must speak our truth honestly, respectfully, clearly and with compassion. The author succeeds on all counts and I proudly add my name in support of a worthy cause. Please let's not shoot ourselves in the foot again!
The previous litugical gunshot wound isn't specified. If he means the current liturgy, that's an argument for retroactive application of Fr. Ryan's proposal. (Maybe he's referring to his recantation after the Prayer service for women's ordination held at St. Matthias.)

Rev. George M. Rebatzki (senior priest) also advocates a fair trial before the hanging.
This is a "must." The translations are horrific and in no way enhance the celebration of Liturgy. ...
Rev. Charles H. Schramm (St. Mary, Hales Corners) says,
Thank you so much for this courageous article! It expresses exactly my thought on this! I am the pastor of a 10,000 plus members parish, and whenever I have given a preview of the new proposed translation to parishioners, the reaction is often, "You've got to be kidding!"
That was my reaction to his answer when AJ decided to Ask the Pastor on August 22, 2006 "Why do we no longer kneel during the Eucharistic prayers during Ordinary time?" or his answer to the March 28, 2007 question on general absolution.

Fr. David W. La Planate [sic] (St. Kilian) said,
Language is more than just words. When the Liturgy began to be celebrated "in the language of the people," it brought many closer to the Table. ...
If he means Mass attendance has been going up the last 40 years, I have go wonder what planate he's been on.

Rev. Kenneth Mich (Good Shepherd) stars in Father Knows Best.
One of the unintended consequences of these "clumsy" translations is that many of us who preside will feel pastorally obligated to make our own adaptions to the prayers for the benefit of the Assembly's worship. ...
No mention of subjecting his own adaptions to objective evaluation.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recovery of the Sacred

Adoremus Bulletin has occasionally republished chapters from the book Recovery of the Sacred, by James Hitchcock, as follows:

Chapter One The Liturgical Revolution (November 2009)

Chapter Four The Loss of History (June 2006)

Chapter Seven The Reformed Liturgy (April 1996)

The book was published in a revised edition as Reforming the Reformed Liturgy (1995), but both editions are now out of print.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

St. James pastor speaks out against new English translation of Mass

Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, December 15, 1969 2009

(via James Martin, S.J. at In All Things)

See What If We['d] Said, 'Wait'?


Monday, December 14, 2009

What If We['d] Said, 'Wait'?

Rev. Michael J. Ryan inadvertently explains where the implementation of the liturgical reform went wrong back in the 1960s.
What if pastors, pastoral councils, liturgical commissions and presbyteral councils were to appeal to their bishops for a time of reflection and consultation on the translations and on the process whereby they will be given to the people? ...

What if, before implementing the new translations, we do some “market testing?” What if each region of bishops were to designate certain places where the new translations would receive a trial run: urban parishes and rural parishes, affluent parishes and poor parishes, large, multicultural parishes and small parishes, religious communities and college campuses? What if for the space of one full liturgical year the new translations were used in these designated communities, with carefully planned catechesis and thorough, honest evaluation? Wouldn’t such an experiment yield valuable information for both the translators and the bishops? And wouldn’t such an experiment make it much easier to implement the translations when they are ready?
Father Ryan is proposing a year of market testing for changes to a forty-year-old liturgy. By that standard, the earlier changes to a four-hundred-year-old liturgy needed a decade of market testing. Instead there were run-throughs for selected small groups in the papal apartments on January 11, 12, and 13, 1968, see The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975, by Annibale Bugnini, pp. 359-383. As I've noted before, Archbishop Weakland literally called those three small demonstrations the test marketing of the revised liturgy.

Here in Milwaukee, three months was alloted to prepare for the transition to the postconciliar liturgy. By that standard, the upcoming revision would get a week and a half.

Update: Dad29 on The Dissent Lives in Milwaukee


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yesterday's Today's Church

The last meeting of the local chapter of Voice Of The Faithful (VOTF) is September 26, 2009 9:00 a.m. at First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa, featuring [Father] Richard P. McBrien speaking on "The Challenge of Leadership in Today's Church". Ten Dollars (donation) at the door.

The emailed flyer notes that Fr. McBrien has been writing a weekly syndicated column since 1966. For example, in his August 5, 1966 column, titled "Questions Face Church", he wrote on the same topic that
the point of this essay is not to launch an attack on Catholics who are unhappy with the Church of Vatican II. First of all, it would be unfair to assume that all such opposition arises from bad will or obstinacy. More often than not, the theological explanation has been wanting. In some cases, undoubtedly, the explanation has been advanced in a simplistic and polemical manner, thus alienating rather than enlightening the inquirer. The point of this article and, it is to be hoped, of every article in this series, is to enlighten, not to debate, to persuade and not to bludgeon or ridicule.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

A scale model replica

Thomas J. Reese, S.J., finds fault with the approach of the U.S. Bishops to implementing revisions to the liturgy.
Market testing, beta sites, learning from experience and listening to the people are not part of the hierarchy's lexicon. "We know what's best. Full speed ahead!"

If that critique applies to mere revisions of the post-conciliar liturgy, it applies with much more force to the decision to implement it in the first place. Archbishop Weakland recalls, in his memoirs, the evenings of January 11, 12, and 13, 1968, when Pope Paul VI had three versions of the proposed new form of liturgy celebrated in the Capella Matilde at the Vatican.
Since the idea was to replicate a parish Sunday Mass, he asked that a small congregation be present and for each evening invited about twenty-five people. I was among them. ... On the last night, the pope, in the chapel, thanked all of those who came, stressed that this was an "historic moment", and begged for feedback. Each evening after the Mass, Pope Paul invited a small group, five to seven of us, to discuss our reactions; I attended all three evenings. (A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church, p. 205)

Archbishop Weakland has elsewhere called these three evenings test marketing the revised liturgy. Unless Father Reese wants to take issue with the 1968 procedure, the U.S. Bishops need only have a couple dozen of their number attend one Mass with the latest revisions to meet his objections.

(via Diogenes at Off the Record)


Friday, May 15, 2009

Don't ask, don't tell

Milwaukee's WISN-TV interviewed Auxiliary Bishop William Callahan who heads our Archdiocese pending the next Archbishop (Auxillary Bishop Callahan Weighs In On Weakland's Book [sic]).
Callahan said he talked to Former Archbishop Weakland last week, but despite his knowledge of the book, it was not discussed.

Callahan, who's known Weakland for years, said he's surprised by Weakland's admission that he is gay.

“I think it caught me off guard. It was not necessarily something I was ready to hear coming from the Archbishop,” Callahan said.

See Archbishop Weakland Memoirs to be Released

He suggested some perspective.
Callahan said Weakland’s legacy in the church is not just his mistakes but also some of the good he did, including shaping the modern mass.

In an address to the Peter Favre Forum, Archbishop Weakland characterized three demonstration masses in the papal apartments as "test marketing" the revised liturgy. Since this is pretty much the opposite of actual test marketing, it said more about the shaping of the modern Mass than he realized.

Some people might appreciate his denunciation of hand-holding during the Lord's Prayer, see Our Father Who art holding hands.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Healing old wounds and restoring ancient partnerships

Bishop Richard J. Sklba in the "Herald of Hope" column in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, November 13, 2008, was then recently back from the three day plenary meeting of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. The ICCJ's 1947 meeting produced An Address to the Churches, called "The Seelisberg Theses" after the city where this "international emergency conference on anti-Semitism" was held.

The status of the ICCJ and whether attendees are there in an official capacity within their religious bodies is unstated.

Bishop Sklba gave one of the keynote addresses, which were followed by discussion.
Something that struck me early on was the insight that there are powerful contrasts between the first century of our common era and this new 21st century of ours. Then the tragedy of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem spawned councils of division; now the unspeakable horror of the gas chambers produced councils of reconciliation such as Vatican II.

He doesn't specify the "councils of division". The Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15, Galatians 2:1-10) is generally dated before the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70. It appears the Council of Jamnia is hypothetical. If the 20th Century's thirty years war was part of the impetus for Second Vatican Council, the genocide of European Jews was a part of that. That's not the same as claiming reaction to this genocide produced the Council, which seems an overstatement.
In that vein I also pointed out that we Catholics remain committed both to the belief that God's covenant with Israel remains eternally valid (Romans 11:29) ... and that Christ's universal redemption embraced the entire world. Precisely how those Catholic convictions are interrelated remains a mystery which still awaits adequate expression.

I might note (parenthetically!) that bit of proof-texting by Bishop Sklba. In this context, one might also consider the expression found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 839 and 840.

The first sentence of the first document of the Second Vatican Council says one of its aims is "to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church." Bishop Sklba says,
we are convinced that organized efforts to convert Jews to Christianity seem contrary to the will of God for this time in history.

By "we" he might mean the ICCJ participants, or that he is interpreting Nostra Aetate. Either way, he does qualify even this assessment with that word "seem".

P.S. Bishop Sklba's December 11, 2008 column is on a related topic Shared hopes for God's future: Judaism and Christianity as Advent partners again. Diogenes at Off the record reviewed it in If it ain't broke, let's bust it.

(via Dad29)

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sisters mark 125 years of ministry

Marilyn Jozwik reports, Special to "your" Milwaukee Catholic Herald, November 6, 2008, on this anniversary of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother (SSM). One of the Sisters' local institutions was Madonna High School which closed, after only six years, in 1971.
"We simply didn't have enough sisters to supply Madonna," said Sr. Maria [Vinton]. "After Vatican II came 'The Great Exodus.' The sisters were encouraged to re-examine their vocation and many came to realize they didn't have a call to religious life. Some went into social justice, a lot left to get married."


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Rediscovering Traditionalism

John Casey at Open Democracy
what really ignited the Catholic culture wars was the way it was done: by an unprecedented exercise of papal power. Hardly anything of what happened was prescribed by the Second Vatican Council, not the turning around of the altars, not the almost universal use of the vernacular, not the scaling down of the sense of transcendence and sacrifice, not the discouraging of the faithful from kneeling when receiving holy communion, not the receiving of communion in the hand rather than on the tongue. Traditionalists point out that the Council had decreed that the Latin language was to be preserved. (And the `maniac' John XXIII had been totally opposed to the vernacular in the mass.) It had all been done by Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Bugnini and a close circle of liturgical experts. It was never even passed by a synod of bishops.

...The question all along was whether pope and bishops really do have such authority. One distinguished Catholic thinker judged that there was no such sweeping power, that liturgy had its own authority based on immemorial tradition, and that the pope''s authority in liturgy `is at the service of Sacred Tradition.' The same thinker even dared to describe the new mass as `no re-animation but devastation... fabricated liturgy... banal-on-the-spot product.' The man who wrote those words is now Pope Benedict XVI. The Cardinals elected Ratzinger knowing that these were his convictions. It cannot have been done in a fit of absence of mind.

...No one who reads Ratzinger can deny that he brings a very lively intelligence into his attempt to rediscover tradition. It is his critics of the ageing Vatican II generation who begin to look intellectually lazy.

(via Arts & Letters Daily)


Monday, October 6, 2008

The Center Cannot Hold

Many conservative Catholics see Vatican II as the fundamental cause for the problems that wrack the Church today. That reasoning is simplistic. If the leaders of any institution gather to plan for the future, and their plans bring the institution to ruins, there must have been some problem before the meeting: some flaw in the leaders' thinking or in the way those leaders were chosen. A healthy institution does not self-destruct. --Philip F. Lawler, The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture (2008), p. 67


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Challenging ... Challenges

The Rev. Neil J. Roy reviews A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, 1963-1979 (2007), by Archbishop Piero Marini, in Adoremus Bulletin, June 2008. From a quote from the book,
...The Congregation for Rites, instituted in 1588 to safeguard the Tridentine liturgy, existed for almost four centuries. However, the Congregation for Divine Worship, instituted to implement the liturgy of the Second Vatican Council, lasted for a mere six years. ... (156-157)


Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Hidden Hand Behind Bad Catholic Music

A reader suggested this article by J. A. Tucker at Catholic Culture on Oregon Catholic Press.
The truth is that no one is happy with the state of Catholic liturgical music — least of all musicians — and the OCP is a big part of the problem. So, what can you do? Step 1 is to get rid of the liturgical planning guides and use an old Scripture index to select good hymns that have stood the test of time (if you absolutely must continue to use the OCP's materials). Step 2 is to rein in the liturgical managers and explain to them that the Eucharist, and not music, is the reason people show up to Mass Sunday after Sunday.

You might recall, on the other hand, we've been told at St. Al's that Sunday Mass would be dull and uninspiring without the choir.
Step 3 is to get rid of the OCP hymnals and replace them with Adoremus or Collegeville or something from GIA (no, none of these is perfect, but they are all an oasis by comparison).

To be fair, even the OCP hymnals we use at St. Al's contain an Order of Worhip that follows the GIRM, unlike the parish liturgy.

Update: from his "That Was the Year that Was" (1965)

Lyrics here.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The End of the Latin Mass

John at The Inn at the End of the World posted this piece by William F. Buckley, Jr. from November 10, 1967.
It is absolutely right that the vernacular should displace the Latin if by doing so, the rituals of Catholic Christianity bring a greater satisfaction to the laity and a deeper comprehension of their religion. There oughtn't to be any argument on this point, and there certainty isn't any from me...

He merely points out that it was already apparent the liturgical changes failed on their own terms.

(via Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor)


Friday, February 29, 2008

That Was the Year that Was (1965)

Tom Lehrer:
Another big news story of the year concerned the ecumenical council in Rome, known as Vatican II. Among the things they did, in an attempt to make the church more... commercial, was to introduce the vernacular into portions of the Mass to replace Latin, and to widen somewhat the range of music permissible in the liturgy. But I feel that if they really want to sell the product in this secular age, what they ought to do is to redo some of the liturgical music in popular song forms. I have a modest example here; it's called The Vatican Rag!

(via Charlotte was Both on "the wafer")


Friday, November 2, 2007

Determinants of Ideological Change

A trip down memory nave.
Since bishops and priests also believed that non-Catholics were eternally damned, they were eager to lend their support to new groups that offered prospects of rescuing them. ... the disappearance of this belief after the mid-twentieth century removed a key motivation for the hierarchy to support religious life.
--Patricia Wittberg, The Rise and Fall of Catholic Religious Orders: A Social Movement Perspective (1994) p. 155


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Transgressive Liturgy

How the therapeutic mentality affects the culture and Catholic worship

by James Hitchcock, Adoremus Bulletin, September 2007
Therapeutic culture reduces interdicts merely to taboos, that is, to essentially irrational and neurotic compulsions arising out of fear and ignorance, and in the post-conciliar Church there were increasingly shrill polemics against “legalism”, as though interdicts have no spiritual meaning. The rare disorder of scrupulosity was treated as the root of all belief, a sickness that had to be constantly fought against.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

All Against All: The Postconciliar Period Recounted by Ratzinger, Theologian and Pope

During his recent vacation, Pope Benedict XVI's met with local priests at the church of Santa Giustina Martire in Auronzo di Cadore, answering ten questions at length. Sandro Magister reports on the Pope's answer to a question on the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath. In explaining the disappointment and disillusion in the decades since then, he says,
The periods following a council are almost always very difficult. After the great Council of Nicaea – which is, for us, truly the foundation of our faith, in fact we confess the faith as formulated at Nicaea – there was not the birth of a situation of reconciliation and unity, as hoped by Constantine, the promoter of the great Council, but a genuinely chaotic situation of a battle of all against all.

If such periods after councils are difficult, isn't it because they had been called to deal with an already-existing difficult situation? In the case of the First Council of Nicaea, the difficulty was the heresy of Arianism. Since Vatican II did not deal with heresy (SC 1), citing Nicaea I does not explain the decades of problems since. And if such difficulties are inherent in a post-conciliar period, then that would be a good reason not to call a council unless the Church faces a problem, like a widespread heresy, that defies any other solution.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

Catholics, Lutherans seek common ground

Tom Heinen reports in todays Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Bishop Richard J. Sklba, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, will be in Chicago on Friday at the national assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He'll be there to say Hi on behalf of the U.S. Catholic bishops. The theme of the story is that the recent Vatican reiteration that the Catholic Church is the one true church puts Bishop Sklba in an uncomfortable position.
"I certainly have to address the issues we struggle with. I don't want it to be bland. I don't want it to be just fluff. I want it to be a contribution. It has to at least recognize the (Vatican's) recent statement. I have to allude to that, to offer some assurance that this is not any rejection of dialogue partners or a lessening of commitment."

He sounds uncomfortable.
"I think when people read Pope Benedict's statement, there was a sense of discouragement," said ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson.

"I think with people in the pew, there's an impatience with the seeming inability of we who are leaders to find a way through our significant differences so that we can experience greater unity."

Aren't we united in the belief that the Reformation was actually about something?

The story goes on,
The document says the Catholic Church is the one true church, and Sklba agrees.

Better in the fifteenth paragraph than never. One application of the issue is intercommunion.
When the National Evangelical Lutheran/Catholic Dialogue ended its 10th round of talks in Milwaukee in 2004, its report said that Catholic judgment on the authenticity of Lutheran ministry need not be all or nothing.

The report quotes a 1993 letter from Ratzinger: "I count among the most important results of the ecumenical dialogues the insight that the issue of the Eucharist cannot be narrowed to the problem of validity. Even a theology oriented to the concept of succession . . . need not in any way deny the salvation granting presence of the Lord in the Lutheran Lord's Supper."

Asked if that differs from Catholic Eucharist, Sklba said, "I think one has to ask the person who said it."

So giving a real answer to that question is part of my job as a Sunday School teacher for tenth graders, but not part of his job? A few years ago, after numerous discussions with parents, Archbishop Dolan said,
As more than one of you commented, "I send my kids to Catholic schools (or religious education classes) not to hear what the teachers 'feel' or think, but what the Church teaches."

Couldn't he get his auxiliary involved in this process of passing on what the Church teaches? Bishop Sklba wrote the Forward to Unfailing Patience and Sound Teaching: Reflections on Episcopal Ministry in Honor of Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B.
The following essays, each written by a significant bishop or theologian of our Church, attempt to capture what it means to be a bishop implementing that council [Vatican II] at the beginning of the twenty-first century. (p. x)

The same passage from Cardinal Ratzinger is quoted in Chapter Seven, "The Roman Catholic Bishop in Ecumenical Perspective" by Michael Root (p. 129). If Bishop Sklba can endorse what's in this book but now can't or won't say what the passage means, it might leave the impression he's unsure "what it means to be a bishop implementing that council at the beginning of the twenty-first century."

Update: Here's Bishop Hanson's formal response [2 pp. pdf] to the Vatican document.
The anguished response of Christians around the world to the Vatican’s statement, however, clearly indicates that what may have been meant to clarify has caused pain.

Maybe it's just the anesthetic finally wearing off.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

The evening news in retrospect

Bishop Richard J. Sklba touches on the great controversy of the day in today's "Herald of Hope" column of our Catholic Herald.
Night after night I was subjected to the torture (at least that’s what it seemed if I wasn’t really interested) of three separate weather reports within a half hour!

Update: In passing, he later says,
As I have often recalled, there were three general aims of the Second Vatican Council, namely the renewal of the church, the reconciliation and reunion of the churches and the transformation of the modern world by the Gospel.

The first sentence of the Council's first document puts it a bit differently.
This sacred Council has several aims in view: it desires to impart an ever increasing vigor to the Christian life of the faithful; to adapt more suitably to the needs of our own times those institutions which are subject to change; to foster whatever can promote union among all who believe in Christ; to strengthen whatever can help to call the whole of mankind into the household of the Church.

Seems like his paraphrase avoids that pesky calling the whole of mankind into the household of the Church.

Speaking of avoiding, Karen Marie Knapp at From the Anchor Hold posted a recollection of those heady years of the Second Vatican Council in A History of a True Blue Conciliar Kid.

Most of my classmates dropped out of religious education after fifth grade (and Confirmation), as seemed to be the perpetual tradition, but those of us who stayed had a steady stream of fresh Church documents to ponder as the Council continued and then was implemented.

Picturing her class oohin and aahing reading of the call of the whole of mankind into the household of the Church while their classmates dropped out around them, I commented,
Forty-four years of the attrition of people and accumulation of documents sounds pretty dismal.

In a subsequent post, she characterizes what I said this way.
I cannot believe that he actually thinks it is better to remain ignorant of the holy faith ...

I don't think that, but she apparently thinks such ignorance unimportant. She watched most of her classmates drop out of religious instruction and shrugs it off. Like I said
... It's all quite a contrast to the Good Shepherd, who thinks even 1% attrition deserves his full attention.


Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Our Need for Confession

This column by Fr. Ron Rolheiser ran in our Catholic Herald. He describes the steep decline in Catholics going to confession.
There's a sad irony in this: People are beginning to neglect the practice of confession just when, for the first time, we are learning from the experience of the therapeutic community that, for some things, there is no help, and there can be no help, outside of a searingly honest and detailed telling of our sins, addictions, fantasies, and foibles to another human being.

Strangely, there's no indication it ever crossed the collective mind of the therapeutic community that it might have something to learn from the Church's experience with confession.
An honest confession is a non-negotiable step in any healing process. What healing programs have discovered - just when so many of us inside church circles are forgetting it - is that, good as it is, it's not enough just to be contrite silently in our hearts. Full healing can only take place when we express that contrition not just to God in the secret recesses of the soul, but when we also speak it out, and in detail, to another human being.

Let's not forget our third mode of confession, in the long form Penitential Rite (Confiteor) at Mass.


Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Back to the dictionary again: The Lectionary for Masses with Children

In the Herald of Hope column in the Catholic Herald of October 13, 2005, Bishop Richard J. Sklba addresses the children's lectionary, based on the Contemporary English Version (CEV) of the Bible.
This translation is known as a dynamic equivalent version, namely translating every concept though not necessarily every word.

Would, then, a dynamic equivalent version of "dynamic equivalent version" be "paraphrase"?
Another less helpful characteristic of the CEV is that its authors decided to eliminate some of the more technical religious vocabulary associated with the mystery of salvation such as "redemption" or "righteousness" or "justification." I myself understood the concern, but over the years I have objected to the decision, even when made on the grounds that people were not familiar with the terms, because it seemed to me that the very omission of the language contributed to the ignorance it was trying to combat.

Sounds a bit like a dynamic equivalent version of The Screwtape Letters.
The Holy See approved the experimental use of the CEV for the Lectionary for Masses with Children, and its usage has become very popular, especially among catechists at the parish level.

So if its use leaves the kids ignorant, you might think this experiment would be judged a failure. Experimental, here, has been taken to mean something more along the line of avant garde; lack of results makes it seem even more so. Hence Christian Formation programs not only keep using the CEV, some have been using it beyond the primary grades.
We are told the current use of the CEV keeps children at an elementary biblical level and does not adequately prepare them for participating in truly adult celebrations of the Eucharist.

And so Bishop Sklba joins the ranks of those who conclude that a decree of the Second Vatican Council was implemented in an infantalizing way.
I've been involved in the review and restudy of the Lectionary for Masses with Children for the past two years. There is a growing consensus on this question among the experts who truly know children as well as the Eucharistic liturgy.

"Hey, we're in a hole!"
They are convinced that another translation probably should be developed for use with our children that would better prepare them for the young adult experience of the Word of God.

"Better keep digging."
This coming November the bishops of the country will be asked to vote on this new text. It may be helpful to know that it is the catechetical specialists in child faith development who have made this recommendation to the bishops of the country.

Helpful in the sense that he's given us reason to have no confidence in their judgment.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Revisiting Vatican II

U. S. Catholic introduces this upcoming online survey by saying,
It was 40 years ago this year that the Second Vatican Council came to a close and ushered in monumental changes such as a greater role for the laity, religious tolerance, and Mass in English. The road the church has traveled since then has had its share of both bumps and scenic vistas. We want to stop for a minute and ask: How do you rate the trip?

Here's a pothole I hit every week.
"In the dialectical context of the council", [John] Huels writes, the reason for the restrictive statement against unauthorized liturgical changes "doubtless ... was to reassure the conservative minority who did not want to change anything and who feared abuses.... The [restriction] thereby helped to bring about the consensus that ultimately resulted in the nearly unanimous favorable vote on the constitution as a whole".

But this is not needed today, Huels says, because "the most vociferous opponents of the liturgical reforms have now been discredited and their leaders [Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, et al] excommunicated" ([Huels More Disputed Questions in the Liturgy] pp 147-148).

Perhaps they thought that putting particular words in a document to get votes in favor of it and then implementing the document as if it meant the opposite was fraud.

Update: Phillip Blosser posts on Sacrosanctum Concilium revisited, an article in Latin Mass magazine.

If Latin Mass is going to publish in the vernacular, it ought to also post its content online.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Did Vatican II Reject The "Social Reign" Of Jesus Christ?

Arthur M. Hippler wrote in The Wanderer of July 14, 2005
It is a common enough opinion that the social reign of Jesus Christ, proclaimed so clearly by Pius XI in Quas Primas and commemorated every year in the Feast of Christ the King, was abandoned or rejected by the Second Vatican Council.

And he goes on to attempt to show that this is not so.
Liberals (and traditionalists) may at this point reasonably object: "If the Second Vatican Council and John XXIII clearly believed and preached the social reign of Jesus Christ, why is it no longer reaffirmed in teaching? Why did everyone after the council act as if Quas Primas had never been written?" Certainly, many things that were proclaimed and enacted during the council were discarded afterward. Pope John XXIII, to use one example, was spared the indignity of seeing his apostolic constitution On the Use of Latin (Veterum Sapientiae), promulgated during the council in the assembly of bishops and cardinals, vanish from public knowledge immediately after the council; many collections of Pope John's writings do not include it, and most biographies do not mention it.

While Quas Primas is on the Vatican web site in English, Veterum Sapientiae appears to only be available there in Italian. I did find it in English at the Vancouver Traditional Mass Society. [Or, if no longer there, at Adoremus. --ed.] Pope John concludes
With the foregoing considerations in mind, to which We have given careful thought, We now, in the full consciousness of Our office and in virtue of Our authority, decree and command the following: ...

Followed by a series of instructions to bishops and others on the use of Latin which, believe it or not, do not appear to have been followed since.

I don't know that the Church could retrace its steps and implement Pope John's instructions, but it might be a place to begin retracing steps in a failure analysis of the Second Vatican Council.